Billy Murray is a comedic legend. That legend was born in the late ‘70s in SNL and grew to mythic heights with his movies like Strips, Ghostbusters, What About Bob?, and others in those decades after SNL. Here are some of the best Bill Murray quotes from his ‘80s and ‘90s movies.
“He slimed me. I feel so funky.” – Ghostbusters
It might be the most famous line Bill Murray has ever uttered on screen. After locating the ghost in the hotel in Ghostbuster, “Slimer” takes one look at Peter Venkman and charges. When Ray (Dan Aykroyd) and Egon (Harold Ramis) get to Peter, it’s too late, he’s been slimed.
“Check me if I’m wrong Sandy, but if I kill all the golfers, they’re gonna lock me up and throw away the key…” – Caddyshack
Assistant greenskeeper Carl Spackler does nothing but frustrate his poor Scottish boss and never is it more obvious than his basic misunderstanding of what to do about the gophers, not the golfers. The exchange between them also sets up one of the most epic battles between man and beast cinema has ever seen.
“You want a prediction about the weather, you’re asking the wrong guy. I’ll give you a winter prediction: It’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be grey, and it’s gonna last you for the rest of your life.” – Groundhog Day
Things get pretty bleak for ol’ Phil Connors in Groundhog Day. Living the same day over and over, stuck in rural Pennsylvania could do it to anyone. Luckily he kept us all laughing along the way, sadly, the movie would be the last time Harold Ramis and Bill Murray would work together.
“Isn’t this a breakthrough, that I’m a sailor? I sail? I sail now? Ahoy!” – What About Bob?
Bob Wiley has every mental problem known to man. It’s when he gets out on the open sea, or Lake Winnipesaukee, as the case may be, that he starts to cope with many of his problems. It’s a revelation for Bob and for the audience.
“And he says, “Oh, uh, there won’t be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.” So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.” – Caddyshack
Carl Spackler is full of great advice when he’s got a caddy pinned against the wall with a pitchfork. The whole story is hilarious, but it’s the bit at the end that really sticks with you forever.
“Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats, living together! Mass hysteria!” – Ghostbusters
While “I’ve been slimed” may be the most famous, this one is Bill Murray’s most quotable line from Ghostbusters. Who hasn’t uttered this phrase on multiple occasions in their life? I know I have. It really sums up the whole movie, doesn’t it?
“There is one thing that we all have in common: we were all stupid enough to enlist in the Army. We’re mutants. There’s something wrong with us, something very, very wrong with us.” – Stripes
How Bill Murray’s character, John Winger, ends up enlisting actually kind of makes sense. He’s stuck in a dead-end job and can’t do 10 sit-ups. He’s thrown into a platoon full of misfits and somehow he ends up on the cover of Time. Maybe there isn’t anything wrong with him at all.
“IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER!” – Meatballs
Meatballs is rarely included in lists of the best Bill Murray movies, but for those of us of a certain generation, it’s still legendary. Not only did it launch his movie career and have him team up with Ivan Reitman for the first time, it reminds us of our youth, of a young Billy Murray and a really rundown summer camp. Or maybe that’s just me. In the end, the mantra of the movie is right, “it just doesn’t matter.”
“I’d keep playing. I don’t think the heavy stuff’s gonna come down for quite a while.” – Caddyshack
What can be said that hasn’t already been when it comes to Murray’s character Carl Spackler in Caddyshack? In a movie with some of the all-time best one-liners from the likes of Rodney Dangerfield, Chevy Chase, and Ted Knight, it’s Bill Murray who gets quoted the most on the golf course.
“Here’s my advice to the rest of you: Take dead aim on the rich boys. Get them in the crosshairs and take them down. Just remember, they can buy anything but they can’t buy backbone.” – Rushmore
Rushmore might not have the zingers that some of his other films have, but Bill Murray’s performance, and really in all the Wes Anderson films he’s in, are way more about subtlety than wackiness. It shows just how versatile Murray really is.
“Finally! Big Ern is above the law!” – Kingpin
There is nothing subtle about Kingpin or Murray’s character in it, Ernie McCracken. When he finally wins the big event, besting Roy Munson (Woody Harrelson), the most important thing to McCracken is that finally, he’s above the law, he’s too big to fail, in modern parlance.
“C’mon, it’s Czechoslovakia. We zip in, we pick ’em up, we zip right out again. We’re not going to Moscow. It’s Czechoslovakia. It’s like going into Wisconsin.” – Stripes
This one might be a little personal. I used to say this to my friends in college before every road trip. John Winger isn’t wrong, it’s not Moscow, and they were in one heavily armed recreational vehicle!
“It reminds me of my favorite poem, which is, ‘Roses are red, violets are blue, I’m a schizophrenic… and so am I!'” – What About Bob?
Bob might have a lot going on in his head, but that doesn’t stop him from becoming friends with everyone he meets. With the notable exception of Dr. Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss).
“Nice shootin, Tex!” – Ghostbusters
Let’s just say that more than once in Ghostbusters Egon gets a little too excited. One example is in the hotel ballroom when he just unloads on the ghost with a stream from his proton pack. He misses the ghost, but destroys the bar, prompting Venkman to comment on his marksmanship.
“A former greenskeeper now about to become the Master’s champion. It looks like a miraculous – it’s in the hole! It’s in the hole!” – Caddyshack
There is no more quotable character of Bill Murray’s than the hapless greenskeeper Carl Spackler. Standing outside the clubhouse, taking the flowers off the stems, and dreaming of the last round of Masters is the stuff of champions.
“Did you try staples?” – Scrooged
The character of Frank Cross in Scrooged is dark, but it’s absolutely one of Bill Murray’s funniest. Frank Cross is a terrible person and nothing shows that more than when he suggests using staples to attach antlers to a mouse’s head for the bizarre production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Story on TV. It’s mean…but hilarious.
“I think I need a root canal. A long, slow root canal.” – Little Shop Of Horrors
By far his weirdest role on this list is when Murray played an overly enthusiastic dental patient opposite Steve Martin’s overly enthusiastic psychopathic dentist in one of the great musical horror flicks, Little Shop Of Horrors. Murray’s character wants the most painful experience possible and Martin is all too happy to provide that.
“This is one time where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather. I, for one, am very grateful to have been here. From Punxsutawney, this is Phil Connors. So long.” – Groundhog Day
Groundhog Day is the peak of Bill Murray’s sassiness and nothing is sassier than his sign-off from his weather report calling Punxsutawney Phil a squirrel. It’s demeaning to the hog and dismissive of the people who care about the hog. It’s brilliant.
“Chicks dig me, because I rarely wear underwear and when I do it’s usually something unusual.” – Stripes
Like Murray himself, John Winger in Stripes is one of Murray’s most charming characters. Winger is the everyman that audiences want to get behind. He’s not a jerk to anyone, even the women we never got to meet who dug him for his choice, or lack thereof, of undergarments.
“Do me a favor, will you? Would you mind washing off that perfume before you come back to our table?” – Kingpin
“Big” Ernie McCracken is rude to everyone he deals with. From Roy Munson to the poor waitress who has to serve his… questionable… choice of beverage. If that’s not enough, he tells her how he’d like her to smell. He’s terrible in every way, yet brilliant to laugh at.
“They’re like the Vietcong – Varmint Cong. So you have to fall back on superior intelligence and superior firepower.” – Caddyshack
Carl’s increasing desperation to eliminate his gopher foe gets funnier and funnier and it’s written all over Murray’s face in every scene. Finally, he gets so desperate, he brings out the plastic explosives…
“There are two types of people in this world: Those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don’t. My ex-wife loves him.” – What About Bob?
Bob has his first big breakthrough in Dr. Marvin’s office when he’s told that even though he’s an almost-paralyzed, multiphobic personality who is in a constant state of panic, his wife did not leave him, he left her because she… liked Neil Diamond? Neil Diamond isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but he probably doesn’t cause many divorces.
“Let’s suck in the guts guys, we’re the Ghostbusters.” – Ghostbusters II
It may have the triumphant return of the Ghostbusters to active duty, but the smart aleck in Peter Venkman just can’t help himself and he has to comment on everyone being a little older and a little pudgier. Ray Stance’s (Dan Aykroyd) response, by actually sucking in, is the real hero here though.
“I think that we owe a big round of applause to our newest, bestest buddy, and big toe… Sergeant Hulka.” – Stripes
John Winger’s charms don’t work on everyone, especially his commanding officer, Sergeant Hulka (Warren Oates). The drill sergeant is pretty unimpressed with everything Winger does, especially when Winger tries to butter him up with faint praise.
“So your alien had a room at the Holiday Inn, Paramus?” – Ghostbusters II
Dr. Peter Venkman is a TV star… of sorts… at the start of Ghostbusters II. Unfortunately, he’s forced to interview some pretty wacky people, like the woman who tries to explain how she ended up in a strange alien’s hotel room at the Holiday Inn in Paramus. No one is buying her story, but the other guy? He might be on to something.
“Groundhog Day used to mean something in this town. They used to pull the hog out, and they used to eat it. You’re hypocrites, all of you!” – Groundhog Day
One of the best parts of Groundhog Day is watching Phil Connors’ live stand-ups for the weather gets increasingly more hostile. Finally, he lashes out at everything and everyone as he just can’t stand to be stuck for one more day.
“Back off man, I’m a scientist.” – Ghostbusters
Dr. Peter Venkman has degrees in both psychology and parapsychology, so when you ask him what he’s doing, you’re going to get a straight answer. So back off, he knows what he is doing. He does know, right? Who knows?
“I’ve gotta get inside this guy’s pelt and crawl around for a few days.” – Caddyshack
Carl, bless his heart, does everything he can to figure out how the gopher keeps besting him, including explosives and hoses. When he really tries to get into the gopher’s head is when he really starts going mad. It’s best we stay out of the affairs of vermin.
“I never liked a girl well enough to give her twelve sharp knives.” – Scrooged
Frank Cross’ trip down memory lane with a diabolical cab-driving ghost of Christmas past (David Johansson) shows off what Frank used to be before his heart froze and he turned sociopathic. He even felt comfortable enough to give his girlfriend (Karen Allen) knives for Christmas.
“Oh, creepy! I’m sorry. You know, for the first couple years, I felt responsible. How you been otherwise?” – Kingpin
Ernie McCracken really is the worst person ever. When he finally sees Roy again, and sees his severed hand, he says about the worst things you could ever imagine anyone saying. It’s dark, but it’s a riot, like everything Big Ern does.
“Well, there are so many holes in 1st Avenue, we really didn’t think anyone would notice.” – Ghostbusters II
After digging a hole to find the river of slime, Peter Venkman has to explain to the mayor why the Ghostbusters dug a hole in a city street. If you’ve ever lived in New York, you’d agree, First Avenue is pretty rough!
“You know what, give me angry. Will you? Will you give me angry. You’ve had a bad day. You’re cranky. Yeah. I’ve worked with better, but not many. Thank you.” – Ghostbusters II
Venkman’s “photo shoot” with the painting of Vigo the Carpathian in Ghostbusters II is the funniest scene in the movie, hands down. It’s pure Bill Murray brilliance.
There are probably 100 more quotes we could add to any list of Bill Murray’s funniest lines from the ‘80s and ‘90s. Then there are a hundred more from his movies since the ‘90s. The list could be endless, but for now, this is the end.